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AL Cy Young Odds: Is Gerrit Cole the Safest Bet to Start the 2022 Season?

Gerrit Cole leads the Cy Young candidates in the first odds release of the season. The candidates behind him all have major question marks. Can they overcome the odds and pass Cole?
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AL Cy Young Odds: Is Gerrit Cole the Safest Bet to Start the 2022 Season?

Gerrit Cole leads the way in American League Cy Young odds. Gerrit Cole leads all candidates in the first AL Cy Young odds release of the season. The AL Cy Young candidates behind him all have major question marks. Can they overcome the odds and pass Cole during the 2022 season? We break down the latest AL Cy Young odds.

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AL Cy Young Odds

Justin Verlander Cy Young Odds: (+2000) (Bet $100 to Win $2000)

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We finally get to welcome Verlander back to the mound for our first real exposure since the 2019 season. After just one inning pitched in the shortened 2020 year, it was determined he needed Tommy John surgery which, because of the delay to 2020, caused him to also miss all of 2021. The last time we did see Verlander pitch a full season, he was a Cy Young winner, going 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA and 300 strikeouts in 2019. Can he pull it off again?

Verlander is looking really good in spring so far, not having allowed a run and posting a 10.4 K/9 rate. With two years of rest on his 39-year-old arm, he may be able to reach back and give us a vintage performance despite being up there in age. The Astros are currently favorites to take home the AL West (-165) and if they can capture some of the magic of previous years, Verlander will likely be the frontrunner from this team to take home the award. It's certainly a risk with such a long layoff, but that's baked into the +2000 odds. This looks like a solid bet before the season begins.

Robbie Ray Cy Young Odds: (+1200) (Bet $100 to Win $1200)

Ray is your 2021 AL Cy Young winner after he stormed back from a disastrous 2020 season. He posted 13 wins, a 2.84 ERA, and 248 strikeouts, but also impressed with just a 1.04 WHIP and just a 2.94 BB/9 when his career number is almost four. He increased his first pitch strike percentage by almost 10% which significantly helped with the free passes.

Now he moves from Toronto to Seattle, which is the third-best pitching park in the majors over the last three years, according to Baseball Savant. We know Ray will strike out 200+ batters. We know he will have a potent offense behind him as well as a good defense. He will be his own worst enemy in winning back-to-back awards if he can't keep the gains he made on his control. If he can, Ray can certainly make a bid to be the first repeat AL winner of the award since Pedro Martinez.

Lucas Giolito Cy Young Odds: (+1100) (Bet $100 to Win $1100)

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With teammate Lance Lynn now out for six weeks following knee surgery, Giolito is the de facto ace on this White Sox squad with World Series aspirations. If you're not familiar with Giolito, he has been a rather under the radar pitcher for three years after a miserable 2018 season. Giolito has been top-12 in Cy Young voting three years in a row, including two top-seven finishes. If he continues the trends of the last three years, this could be his season.

Giolito's average numbers from 2019-2021 include a 3.47 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP, 11 strikeouts per nine innings, and a 128 ERA+ (where 100 is considered average). But most impressive on his ledger is the reduction of his walk rate. He was stuck at 4.7/9 in that terrible 2018 season but has now lowered it to 2.6 last year. Giolito also has been a paragon of health the last three years and the White Sox desperately need that with Lynn out for some time.

Shane Bieber Cy Young Odds: (+800) (Bet $100 to Win $800)

There are some Progressive Field-sized questions about Bieber coming into this season after he missed half the year due to a shoulder injury that limited him to just 16 starts in 2021. Those 16 starts, however, were Cy Young-worthy as he had seven wins, a 3.17 ERA, and 134 strikeouts in just 96 innings last year. He has been declared fully healthy for the start of the year, but shoulder injuries are always at a risk for reaggravation.

In addition, the Guardians will likely have a rather anemic offense in 2022, especially if talks break down and they have to part ways with Jose Ramirez. Cleveland will be battling with Kansas City and Detroit for the cellar of the AL Central, which could dampen the prospects of a Bieber Cy Young. For me, I would need lightly longer odds to go all-in on Bieber. He certainly has the talent to win it (he won the award in 2020), but the external circumstances and injury concerns give me major pause.

Gerrit Cole Cy Young Odds: (+450) (Bet $100 to Win $450)

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For all of the regular season accolades Cole has in his career (including four All Star Games), he has never won the Cy Young award. Even when he was an overpowering force going 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA and 326 strikeouts in 2019, teammate Justin Verlander bested him for the award. The stars are aligning, however, that this could be Cole's year.

First, many of the AL competitors on this list and not on this list (Lynn, Lance McCullers, Shane McClanahan, Jose Berrios) have major injury, workload, or new team/park concerns. Second, the Yankees look poised to have a dominant offense yet again and should compete for the postseason. We know if he is healthy, Cole will put up 200 innings with an ERA around 3.00, a WHIP of 1.10 and about 250 strikeouts. If he can find his way to another 18 wins and he avoids injury, this could be Cole's year.

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Longshot: Dylan Cease (+3000) (Bet $100 to Win $3000)

You can presently find Cease at +3000 odds to win the Cy Young which is a wild number considering other sportsbooks have him listed from +850 to +1600. I would highly advise throwing a few bucks at +3000 Cease if you can find it, especially considering the gains he made last year in a variety of metrics. Primarily, his strikeout rate exploded to 12.28 K/9 and the usually concerning walk rate dropped to just 3.69 BB/9. With a called + swinging strike rate over 30% last year and an elite offense behind him, Cease at these odds is a no-brainer.

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Proudest husband and dad you will ever find. When I'm not with my wife and two kids I split my time working in higher ed, grinding DFS and season-long, collecting silver age comics, studying behavioral economics, and drinking coffee. I once played Pat Connaughton in an actual NBA DFS lineup for money. Astros, Rockets, and Texans for life.


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